What better way to enjoy the beautiful summer weather than with a free outdoor concert? Tons of music events are offered every summer in the Twin Cities, so slather on some sunscreen and enjoy a free show in the great outdoors.
Music and Movies in the Park
Lake Harriet Refectory
4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Date: May 27 through Sept. 2
Every summer, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board puts on more than 200 free concerts at several different venues in the Twin Cities, running from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Acts primarily feature local and regional artists and run the gamut of musical genres from rock, jazz, folk and more. With free entertainment offered nearly every night of the week, the Minneapolis Parks Concert Season offers something for everyone. While the Band Shell at Lake Harriet is a premier concert destination with its scenic backdrop and near daily events, Minnehaha Park, Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, Bryant Square Park and Nicollet Island Amphitheater feature live entertainment on a bi-weekly basis. Stake out a spot with a lawn chair or a blanket, kick back and enjoy the show. For information on upcoming summer entertainment (including music and movies), visit mplsmusicandmovies.com.
Music in Mears
221 E. 5th St.
St Paul, MN 55101
Date: Thursdays from June 7 through Aug. 30
Celebrating its 10th year, Music in Mears features free, live entertainment each Thursday throughout the summer, kicking off on June 6. A typical evening features three live bands beginning at 6 p.m. Movies are also frequently shown after the music, around 9 p.m. (movie showings begin in July). Jam out to live music in beautiful Mears Park until the sun goes down, and then cozy up and settle in for a movie afterwards. For more information on upcoming bands and movies, visit the Music and Movies in Mears Park event calendar.
Related: Best Vocal Groups In Minnesota
St. Paul Music in the Parks
Como Lakeside Pavilion
1360 N. Lexington Parkway
St Paul, MN 55103
Date: May 13 through Sept. 2
Similar to Minneapolis’ Music in the Park summer concert series, St. Paul puts on its own version at various venues featuring hundreds of musical acts performing most days of the week all summer long. From easy listening to concert band, jazz, rock and more, attendees can hear a host of musical genres for free. Bring friends and family for a fantastic, fun and free summer outing. While a majority of the events are held at the Como Lakeside Pavilion in Como Regional Park, live music can also be seen at the Phalen Amphitheater, Rice Park and Mears Park. For a full listing of musical acts and where you can catch them live this summer, check out St. Paul’s Music in the Parks schedule.
Twin Cities Jazz Festival
221 E. 5th St.
St Paul, MN 55101
Date: June 27-29
The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is the largest jazz event in the Twin Cities. Now entering its 15th year, the Jazz Festival has been known to attract quite the crowd. Renowned and up-and-coming jazz musicians gather to entertain fans for three jazz-filled day, scheduled from June 27-29 this year. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or a jazz neophyte, you’ll want to come and check out this fun, free event. Performances are held primarily in Mears Park in St. Paul, with festival events spilling into downtown St. Paul and the historic Lowertown neighborhood. For a full listing of this year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival lineup, check out the Festival schedule.
Stone Arch Festival of the Arts
St. Anthony Main Theatre
115 S.E. Main St.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Date: June 14-16
Held every June, the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts is a great event that showcases the talent of hundreds of local artists over three activity-packed days. In addition to all of the great art displayed, the Festival features a car show, tasty eats and three stages dedicated to an eclectic mix of live music. Scheduled to be held June 14-16 this year, the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts is free to attend, so grab the family and head over to the historic Stone Arch bridge and soak up local art and culture. For a full listing of events and artists, visit the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts webpage.
Many suburbs also host their own free summer concert series, so don’t forget to check each city’s website for more information. Know of any upcoming free outdoor music events? Share them below!
A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.